Rhinos Drop 120 Minute Friendly to Battery 2-1

The Rochester Rhinos and Charleston Battery squared off this afternoon at SAS Soccer Park in a 120 minute (4, 30 minute periods) friendly. The Battery got on the board first about 15 minutes in when the Rhinos keeper dropped a long ball which bounced high over his head. As he tried to bring it down he fumbled it right into the path of the Battery forward Ben Hollingsworth who did not waste the gift he was presented. The game was fairly even with neither team really getting many good looks at goal through 90 mintues. Although the Battery seemed to be the more organized side early, both coaches were experimenting with lots of different personnel and the game did not have a lot of flow. The Rhinos seemed to get stronger as the game wore on and just inside the 4th period, Rochester's Johnny Menyongar leveled the scored with a fine individual effort to beat the Battery keeper. With what looked to be a justly deserved draw for both sides winding down, Battery midfielder Ian Fuller caught Rhinos keeper Scott Vallow cheating off his line and buried a 40+ yard lob over the helpless keeper with only 2 minutes to play in the scrimmage. This was really the first time I've gotten to see the Rhinos play in a full speed game since they have been here in Cary. While it was obvious that it's still earlier pre-season, I did enjoy the match and look forward to the remaining games later this week. For me, I was most impressed with the pace and touch or Menyongar. I also noticed that much of Rhinos play went through Juninho who seemed to be the creative force in midfield from his spot on the left wing. Newcomers Danny Kramer (Duke) and Kenney Bertz (Maryland) both acquitted themselves well in their first USL-level match for the Rhinos. Kramer had several nice runs and was just denied a goal on a fine diving save from the Battery Keeper. Bertz looks like a real find for the Rhinos backline in desperate need of a steadying force due to offseason deparatures. He brought both physical play in the box as well as a knack for getting forward on set pieces. I think Rhinos fans will be very pleased with this new signing. Pictures from the game are available on my Flickr stream.